If you or your company has been accused of a crime, a criminal lawyer can help defend and protect you. Criminal lawyers specialize in criminal law. And it’s their job to make sure their clients are not penalized or receive a reduced penalty, depending on the crime. Many criminal lawyers are private attorneys, but the U.S. law requires that all people have right to an attorney. So, if you can’t afford a private lawyer, the court will provide one for you. A lot of people get charged with crimes like minor drug offenses, DUIs, and fraud. With something like a DUI, people may assume they don’t need a lawyer. But it’s always finest to have one defend you so that you may reduce or avoid charges. Even if it’s the first time you’ve been accused of a crime, you never know what may happen to you down the line. That’s why any and every criminal offense you may face needs a skilled attorney.
There are three main types of criminal charges: infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. An infraction is for something like a traffic ticket or a fine. You won’t face jail time for an infraction as long as you pay the ticket or fine. But misdemeanors and felonies have harsher penalties. A misdemeanor is less serious than a felony, but both can carry jail time. If convicted, things a felony or misdemeanor can haunt you for the rest of your life. You want to avoid these charges whenever possible. Aside from jail time, you could receive significant fines and other penalties, and you may even lose your job. Protect yourself from the worst-case scenario by hiring a criminal lawyer to defend you. Here are 7 reasons you should hire a criminal lawyer:
1. Crimes Are Common
Approximately 70 million Americans have a criminal record. This figure translates roughly to 1/3 of the U.S. population. Chances are a few people you know are criminals. You may even be surprised by who has criminal charges. But just because crimes are common doesn’t mean it’s okay to have a crime on your record. The FBI defines a criminal as someone arrested on a felony charge. An important thing to note is that even if you’re not charged with a felony, the FBI’s definition says you have a criminal record just for being arrested for one. Criminal lawyers can help you avoid being arrested with a felony. Often, they negotiate down your charge, so you may be arrested with a misdemeanor or not arrested at all. But what happens if you suddenly are arrested and you don’t know anything about the crime? If you’re arrested, you should immediately call a criminal lawyer at your first chance. You’re allowed to remain silent by law. Exercise that right and wait to speak until your attorney instructs you to do so. If you need legal assistance you can also find additional legal aid here and you can search for a lawyer here.
2. Defense Strategy
A criminal lawyer’s defense strategy will depend on what you’re being accused of and the evidence of your involvement. It’s important that you help your lawyer with the defense strategy by being honest. Attorney-client privilege protects what you say to your lawyer from being used against you. This means you can confidently share your concerns with your lawyer, and your lawyer will develop a defense strategy that suits your needs finest. When you work with a good attorney, you can relax and trust the attorney’s counsel. Your attorney can answer any questions about the defense strategy, and you can voice any concerns to your lawyer.
3. Plea Bargain
Plea bargains are a common strategy to reduce a charge. In a plea bargain, you may plead guilty to a charge. But typically, you’re pleading guilty to something that involves a lesser sentence. So, if you are facing a felony, you may plead guilty to a misdemeanor to avoid the felony charge. Your attorney will determine whether a plea bargain is the finest strategy for you. Aside from reducing your charges, plea bargains can also save you a significant amount of time and money. Many plea bargains are made to avoid long, costly court battles. However, it’s important that you understand what you’re confessing to and agreeing to with a plea bargain.
Your criminal lawyer can provide guidance throughout the charges and trial. They may advise you on things you need to do or avoid preventing further legal trouble. For example, if you were convicted of a DUI, your lawyer may provide guidance on avoiding intoxication throughout your trial. Your attorney’s guidance should be taken seriously. It is a criminal lawyer’s job to protect you and help you avoid legal trouble. There are limits on the guidance your lawyer can give you.
5. Reduce Offense
There are many ways for your criminal lawyer to reduce an offense. Plea bargains are one way, but if you’ve already been convicted a criminal lawyer can help appeal your case. Your lawyer may be able to reduce the offense based on technicalities or good behavior. It’s never too late to consult a criminal lawyer about your case. The sad truth is once you’re in the criminal system, you may find that you are charged with additional crimes. Whenever you are being accused of a crime, no matter how small, you need a criminal lawyer to try to reduce the offense.
6. Eliminate Jail Time
Chances are you want to avoid jail time. A criminal lawyer can work with the courts to eliminate jail time as an option. If your attorney can eliminate jail time as punishment, you may still face additional penalties like fines or probation. But if you eliminate jail time you’re less likely to suffer other negative consequences of your conviction, like job loss. Your attorney will share the plan with you to eliminate jail time. But know that it’s not a decision that’s up to your lawyer; the court must approve this motion.
7. Skill Level
If you’re going through criminal charges and you’re guilty, you may think that hiring a criminal lawyer is a waste of money. Or you may know you’re innocent and thus hiring a criminal lawyer is unnecessary. However, you would be surprised at what an attorney can bring to your case. Their skill level and experience in defending the accused can make a huge difference in your case. Appearing in court for a crime can be an emotionally startling experience. Whether you’re innocent or guilty, you need the skill level and expertise of a criminal lawyer to guide you through the process.